Education programmes to take cut

Last updated 11:29 08/05/2013
Hekia Parata

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Underperforming Ministry of Education programmes will be cut as Government makes way for an extra $60 million spend over four years to improve the behaviour and education of young people.

Education Minister Hekia Parata made the pre-Budget announcement this morning at Porirua College.

Of an $80.5 million package, $63.6 million will go towards the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme targeted at parents, teachers and schools.

Parata said the Positive Behaviour for Learning programme had proven its effectiveness since it was launched in 2009.

"We have gone through the process of reviewing all programmes and initiatives that we have operating in the Ministry of Education.

"Where those are showing they're delivering positive returns we're continuing to back them, like we have done with PB4L,'' she said.

"There are others that aren't and we are stopping them, or have stopped them.''

Parata would not divulge which particular programmes would be stopped, and said that would be addressed at the Budget announcement next week.

A further $14.5 million would be spent over four years to support boards of trustees.

"The New Zealand School Trustees Association have commissioned a review of itself because they want to make sure that their capability and capacity is fit for 21st century support of governance.

"For the over 2500 schools we have in New Zealand this investment is recognising boards of trustees do a volunteer job and need to be supported with skills and tools and that is why we're significantly increasing the resource,'' Parata said.

Two new programmes, Check and Connect and My FRIENDS Youth - both part of the Prime Minister's youth mental health initiative - would benefit from $2.4 million in funding.

Check and Connect would be piloted in secondary schools across the country, including Wellington and Hawke's Bay.

"Check and Connect is a long-term mentoring programme for students at risk of disengaging, underachieving or dropping out early from school.''

Ten secondary schools will be part of a pilot of the My FRIENDS Youth programme that aito build students' self-esteem and resilience while coping with depression and anxiety.

"Ensuring each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards and create a more productive and competitive economy," Parata said.

"At the moment, on average, four out of five kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school. Our plan is to get five out of five.''

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The Positive Behaviour for Learning programme aimed to improve behaviour in children and young people, increase ''educational engagement and achievement'', and cut long-term costs of difficult behaviour.

"When we address the behaviour of children it helps families, and schools,'' Parata said.

An extra 200 primary and intermediate schools will have access to the Positive Behaviour for Learning Programme and by 2016 it would be available to all secondary schools.

The Government had already put forward $81.7m over four years to the programme. The $63.6 million investment, which will be announced in next week's Budget, means funding will increase to $145.3 million over four years.

"Kids behaving have a better chance of doing better throughout their education, and are better behaved at home and in their community, as well as their schools," Parata said.

- The Dominion Post

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